Opting for the good news

Benefits of a positive focus

We all could use a little good news today.

It’s easy to get drawn into the negativity and drama so prevalent in society. I’ve even had people advise me I’m too happy, I should be more worried, angry, or concerned. Really? Why would I do that to myself?

With so much gloom and doom in the news, it’s easy to fall prey to stories and perspectives promoting fear, hatred and separation, reasons to be afraid, cynical, and suspicious.

There was a time in my life when I’d not only read all of the challenging news stories first, but I’d spend the day discussing them, ruminating on why people were so mean, stupid, or dishonest. My day was coloured by a back-drop of negativity and I missed the good, and my body experienced the stress created by negative focus.

When I’d arrive home from work, I couldn’t wait to share the day’s challenges, completely ignoring all of the wonderful things that had happened. I gave more attention to challenges and problems, which were small, compared to all of the good things that had happened.

I had a habit of negativity. And, my health and happiness experienced the consequences.

Our bodies don’t know the difference between real and imagined. Think of a nice, yellow, juicy lemon for a few seconds, and you’ll salivate. The body responds to our thoughts, not just in noticeable ways like salivation, but also in ways we might not notice so readily.

Every negative thought has a corresponding effect within our minds and bodies. Negative thoughts and feelings are stickier due to the inherent negativity bias of our brains; negativity grows, altering our filter of perception and experience of life. Our bodies follow suit, experiencing the physical effects of negative thoughts.

The same is also true of positive thoughts; positive thoughts create a chemical cascade of beneficial chemicals within the body.

Wearing lenses of negativity, we’re often quick to assume the worst, and find more to be negative about. We’ll find more and more to support our own perspective; we tend to look only for things that support our own beliefs and bias’. Social media algorithms feed us more of the same diet and before we know it we’re enmeshed in the negativity, and it colours our lives.

No, I don’t wear rose-colored glasses. I’m well aware of what’s happening in the larger world today. I’ve learned, while it’s important to be aware of world events, there’s wisdom in being awake and aware of how far down the rabbit-hole I let myself be drawn.

I hear people lament there’s more bad news than good news. That’s not the truth. As I cruised today’s headlines, the balance between happy news stories, versus ones announcing danger and strife. I counted. It was nearly a 50-50 split. The question is, which ones do I open first?

It’s about where I pay attention, and to which stories I give the biggest weight, value or air-time in my mind and in conversation. Instead of focusing on all of the negativity, I choose to remember there’s more good in this world than there’s wrong with it; there are more good people than bad. I prefer to focus on, and be an advocate, for good.

When I choose to focus on all of the negative, I am paying personal consequence for all the challenges of the world, mentally, emotionally and physically.

I chose to give more attention to the goodness in life than the negative. Thank goodness for the ability of the brain to change. With a more positive perspective, life’s become so much happier and my health better.

A more positive focus has not only benefitted me, personally, but has helped me in supporting others and able to contribute to making the world a better place.

Our tendencies of thought are just a habit. We can change our habits of thought by becoming aware of them, realizing we don’t have to be victim to old habits. We can look for the good.

We are always at a point of choice. Making a new one surely helped me.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

An assistant minister at the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, she is a retired nurse with a master’s degree in health science and is a hospice volunteer.  She is also an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan and currently spends her time teaching smartUBC, a unique mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. 

She is a speaker and presenter and from her diverse experience and knowledge, both personally and professionally, she has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people gain a new perspective, awaken and recognize we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts, stress or to life. We are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 44 years and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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